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Stubb’s Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce Meatball Heroes

Grilling for football fans in the Eastern Market is no easy feat. Every year for the Thanksgiving football game thousands of seasoned tailgater veterans bring their massive grills in trucks, pickups, and hitched trailers. There are also slow cookers, deep fryers, smokers and more. This is a hungry crowd with high expectations. You’ve got to stay pretty inventive to keep everyone satisfied. Hotdogs just aren’t going to cut it.

I generally head out at the crack of dawn and light the grill by 8am. There is no concept of “too early” in the Eastern Market on Thanksgiving. That gives me a solid half day to cook up 3 or 4 great dishes in time to still get everyone to the game for kick-off. I always finish up with massive turkey legs for them to walk to the stadium with. I get so many great compliments as other people gape in awe of the massive drumsticks.

The rest of the offerings I try and mix up every year. This time around I wanted to cook something that people wouldn’t assume you could grill at a tailgate party. A few comments of  “Wow. I didn’t think you could make that on a grill.” can generally make my day. This year I decided to cook up meatball heroes for the gang. To really put my version over the top I added some Stubb’s Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce. There sauces are Texas bold and just a bit was the perfect subtle addition to really push the sandwiches into “ridiculously good” territory. Many happy mouths kept asking how the sauce was so darn good. It doesn’t take a lot of hard work to change the good to the sublime. I’ve adapted the recipe below for you to try them at home. Give it a shot and see how your crowd likes them!

Stubb’s BBQ Sauce Meatball Heroes

Serves: 6

4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces ground beef
12 ounces ground veal or lamb
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 x 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 bottle Stubb’s Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce

6 crusty hero rolls
Non-stick cooking spray

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well and season with salt & pepper.
Heat your grill over medium-low heat. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and grill until cooked through using one side of the grill only, turning regularly. Keep the heat low to ensure the meatballs cook through without burning. Remember, a meatball is just a hamburger rolled up. Nothing to be intimidated by, just give them time to cook.

Stubb’s Sweet Heat Tomato Sauce:
Spray a large foil pan with cooking spray and place over the empty side of the grill. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes, parsley, Stubb’s BBQ Sauce, salt & pepper and allow it to heat up until steaming hot. Don’t try and rush the sauce or you will burn it on the bottom. Stir regularly.
Reduce the heat and add in the grilled meatballs.

To Plate:
Slice the rolls open from the top. Using tongs stuff with meatballs and then ladle some of that awesome sauce right on top.
Serve and enjoy!